Tim McCarthy is very 90s.

Let's get the facts out of the way. Tim McCarthy, 37, is the gay, HIV positive White House correspondent for Gay Cable Network (GCN), a position he can afford to do gratis given the sound financial returns he managed to accrue from the explosive computer industry in those go-go Reagan 80s.

In early 1988 he learned of his positive status and decided to consolidate and sell off his assets in order to pursue a more pressing interest: To do everything he ever wanted to do.

With video camera in tow, McCarthy traveled extensively, acting as some sort of de facto chronicler of gay and lesbian world events in places such as the People's Republic of China and the then Soviet Union with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. But there is nothing -- nothing -- that can compare to his trip to Houston in 1992 for the Republican National Convention.

"The Republican Convention in '92 was by far the single most frightening experience of my life," says the exuberant McCarthy. "To sit there and listen to speaker after speaker invoking God and country while having such an organized blood vendetta against me and my gay brothers and sisters was too much to handle. It truly changed me."

The Provincetown resident has managed to succeed in getting White House press credentials where all other gay reporters have failed. Why him? The way he tells it: equal parts perseverance and charm. A deadly one-two punch.

"There was no way that I wasn't going to get a White House pass," McCarthy says. "I am recording history, a gay history that is not being adequately recorded. The White House and the presidency are two of our strongest symbols of democracy and freedom. PWAs must have a relationship with those symbols. So my battle is their battle."

How does McCarthy know that he personally is making a difference?

"I see it every single day," he says. "It's been really radical to see the advances we have made in AIDS awareness in just a few years. It's not nearly enough, of course; but I'm out there trying."